We are midway through December 2022 which means we are well into what we previously described as a “winter bearing all the hallmarks of yet another once-in-a-generation public health crisis: a third Covid-winter, and potentially the first “full” flu season since 2019, occurring against the backdrop of rises in cost of living which will impact millions of people’s ability to feed themselves and maintain warm, well-lit homes.”

In August, Claire Kennedy and Simon Morioka, PPL’s Joint Chief Executives, wrote a blog calling for

Specific, direct and immediate action … to avoid the worst of the winter crisis ahead”.

In the article published by the HSJ, they described approaching the winter as a “human-sized” challenge.

Focusing on this “human-sized” challenge, this winter PPL has been actively working with the NHS, local authority and voluntary and community sector groups across the county, and also in our local community.

In the face of another crisis for health and social care, and for the vulnerable and those most impacted by health inequalities, national support is unlikely to be sufficient on its own. Therefore, we wanted to contribute actively to solutions to this crisis closer to our home. With the unsustainable pressures on the health and social care system compounded further by the twin pressures of inflation and budgetary restraint, we must, now more than ever, look to build solutions in the community and for the community. As Claire and Simon described in August, to “throw open [PPL’s] doors”, inviting people in and “reducing pressure not just on them, but on statutory services too.”

Our unofficial motto has always been:

“do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’

To put this into practice, PPL is working with local charities in Southwark, to provide a Winter Fund of up to £40,000 to support residents in our local area to heat their homes, to buy food, and to access winter.

Our model of delivering impacts recognises that we can make a difference in three ways – through the work we do with our clients, through the time we use to volunteer and through the money we donate, as a social enterprise, at the end of each year through our social impact fund. The Winter Fund is our first attempt to pull our funding together to tackle a specific challenge and is part of our journey of learning how best to support the organisations and partners within our community who are doing amazing work that sits outside our expertise but is a key part of achieving our mission – to improve health and wellbeing outcomes across the UK. It is a privilege to work alongside such caring and innovative partners.

We know our model is unusual, but we are proud of the difference we know we are making, and of the impact innovative, socially-led businesses can have in a local community.